Commentary for: John 6:57   

Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who continues to feed on me—yes that one—will live because of me.

“the living Father sent me.” The teaching that God sent Jesus Christ occurs over forty times in the New Testament, and can have different meanings in different contexts. That God sent Jesus into the world can have a couple different nuances. For one thing, Jesus is the “last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45), and just as God created Adam, so God created Jesus by Fathering him in Mary. Thus, God’s sending Jesus can refer to his conception and birth, and then subsequent ministry to save mankind, or it can simply refer to the much later event of God sending Jesus to fulfill his ministry to be the savior of mankind. That latter meaning, for example, is what John 17:18 (NET) means when Jesus prayed to God and said: “Just as you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.” Jesus commissioned his apostles and sent them out just as God had commissioned him and sent him out.

There are Trinitarians who insist that because God “sent” Jesus, Jesus must be God. But that is reading far too much into the simple concept of being “sent.” The idea that something has been “sent” by God was commonly used and simply means that God is the ultimate source, or “sender,” of what was sent. There is no reason to believe that Jesus’ being sent by God makes him God—nothing else that is “sent” by God is God. The phrase just means what it says, that God sent Jesus. The Bible has dozens of examples of things being sent by God, all meaning that God was the source. God sent bad weather on Egypt (Exod. 9:23), fiery serpents upon the Israelites (Num. 21:6), Moses (Deut. 34:11), prophets (Judges 6:8), and many more people and things. John the Baptist was a man “sent from God” (John 1:6). The words of John the Baptist about being sent are very clear and, if taken the same way some Trinitarians take Jesus being “sent” by God, would make John God too. John said, “I am not the Messiah, but I've been sent ahead of Him” (John 3:28 HCSB). We all know that what John meant by “I’ve been sent ahead of him” simply means that God commissioned John at a time that preceded the Messiah. But if someone already believed John to somehow be a fourth member of the Godhead, then what John said could be used as evidence supporting that belief. The point is that the only reason someone would say that Jesus’ being “sent” by God meant that he was God or was pre-existent in heaven would be if he already held that belief. The words themselves do not say or mean that.

Actually, the fact that God, or the Father, “sent” Jesus proves that Jesus is not part of the Trinity and therefore co-equal and co-eternal with the Father. Jesus made it clear that the one who “sends” is greater than the one “sent.” In John 13:16 he said, “A servant is not greater than his lord, neither is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.” So if the Father sent Jesus, then the Father is greater than Jesus. Then he made that very clear when he said in the very next chapter, “My Father is greater than I” (John 14:28).

The culture of that day made it clear that the “lord” was greater than the servant, and the one who sends someone is greater than the one who is sent. Thus, by Jesus’ own standards, the fact that he says he was “sent” by God shows that although he is the Son of God, he was still a servant to God, his Father. And that is exactly how the early Christians related to Jesus: as their lord, but God’s Son and God’s servant. For example, they prayed in Acts that Jesus was God’s “Servant” (cp. Acts 3:13; 4:27, 30; also, see commentary on Acts 3:13).

Another piece of evidence that Jesus’ being sent by God does not make him God and “co-equal” with the Father is that the Bible never says Jesus “sent” God (or “the Father”) to do anything. If the Bible says more than forty times that God sent Jesus, and both Jesus and the Father are God and co-equal, why does the Bible never say Jesus sent the Father to do anything? The answer is simple and clear from Jesus’ own mouth: the one who sends is greater than the one who is sent. Jesus is not God, and the fact that he says he was sent by God proves it.

“live.” This refers to living forever. See commentary on Luke 10:28.

Commentary for: John 6:57